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Bommi all set to be India's global animation icon
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Bommi and Friends
Years after Jungle Book's Mowgli (a boy raised by wolves in Indian forest) became known globally, Bommi, a rural Indian girl is likely to join him as a worldwide icon. An animated television serial, called Bommi and Friends, produced by a Chennai firm, is all set to go on air in the coming few months.

The Rs 9 crore project of Chennai-based Image Venture will take viewers to Dazzleland where Bommi and her animal and winged friends, Boris, Yip, Maya and Taco, live a life without the company of adults and their supervision. The story board was completed in San Diego while the voice-overs were done by artistes from all over the world.

"The project is a big leap for the Indian entertainment industry, which until now has remained only an outsourcing hub." said A P Sivayogen, technical director and executive producer, Bommi and Friends.

"Although Disney's Mickey Mouse is being made in Hyderabad, it is designed by Americans and Europeans. Bommi is one of India's first intellectual properties, created with an Indian nodal character, yet it appeals to children in all countries" Sivayogen added.

By making Bommi with a child from rural India, the digital divide in the country has been bridged, claimed producers of the serial. While outsourcing work has kept many of the 60 animation players in the country in business, locally generated mythological content such as 'Chotta Bheem' has been successful in the Indian market.

Global players look at content and technology, said M Karthikeyan, a marketing expert in the animation industry. "The entertainment industry not only needs computer experts, but also those with elements of creativity," he added.

Bommi and Friends addressed the challenge by roping in Brett Pierce and Kerry Michaels , San Diego-based experts. The twelve episodes, each of half an hour duration, have been scripted by Kent Pierce.

According to co-developer Brett Pierce, "Both teams, working across the oceans, are educating each other about all of the things that children share around the world, like love of food, laughter and games. It is the mix of universal similarities and cultural differences which make Bommi and Friends innovative and exciting."

The worldwide rights for the serial, barring SAARC countries, have been given to Optopics Worldwide. The episodes are likely to go on air early 2010.

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